The Rancho Santa Fe Post

RSF Residents Brace for Drastic New Water Restrictions

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Many cities and counties around the State are looking for new ways to conserve water ahead of new water restrictions that will be released next month by the State Water Resources Control Board. While most cities will be asked to reduce their water use by 25% a new article in the Union Tribune points out that big consumers like the Santa Fe Irrigation District could be required to cut water use by up to 35%.

Last September Rancho Santa Fe was thrown into the headlines for having the highest per capita water use in the State with an average of 584 gallons per capita used per day, nearly 4 times the state average. Since then the Association and Rancho Santa Fe residents have been looking for ways to lower their water consumption.

Residents like Janet Lawless Christ are not waiting for new regulations before making significant changes. Christ recently overhauled her nearly 2 acre property to include more drought friendly landscaping.

“It’s a new day, it’s a new normal, people are wrapping their heads around this” she recently told the Union Tribune. “We shouldn’t be having these sprawling citrus groves because we can’t sustain them anymore.”

John Ryan, a long time Rancho Santa Fe resident has also taken a keen interest in drought proofing his residence. He has taken numerous measures to reduce his water use including, removing marginal tree and shrub areas, frequently checking sprinkler efficiency, lowering irrigation to a minimum and has plans to install a pool cover to minimize evaporation in the hot summer months. “It’s important to focus on the details, taking care of small issues can have a significant impact in the long run.” Said Ryan, who has also written his state representative in an effort to encourage the legislature to focus on long term solutions to increasing water supply such as utilizing more local reservoirs, desalination plants, reusable waste water and greywater systems.

The Santa Fe Irrigation District could be required to cut water use by up to 35%

Although many RSF residents are being proactive in conserving water there is still a long way to go to meet the reduction levels that will be announced next month. One of the challenges has been Rancho Santa Fe’s part time residents. Currently many residents do not live in the Ranch year round, making implementing water use restrictions difficult especially when taking into account the big expenses that many large scale land alterations can require.

Even with the remaining challenges residents and community leaders will have to act fast. In 2014 the Santa Fe Irrigation District fell short of the Governors recommended 20% water reduction. This year the price for not hitting reduction levels will hurt. If the reductions are not met residents could face steep fines and could even have their water turned off.

To stay ahead of the State Water Control Boards restrictions next month the RSF Board Members listened to a presentation from Santa Fe Irrigation District General Manager Mike Bardin. Mr. Bardin focused on the severity of the situation and asked the board to spread the word of conservation to residents in the Ranch. “The drought is very serious… our local water supply is exhausted.” Mr. Bardin told the board. “Im here to ask for your help to reduce everyone's water use by 25%... if we don’t those next steps are going to be painful.”